St. Louis Public Radio News
8:54 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Treatment advocates want new alcohol tax in Illinois

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association wants state lawmakers to increase the alcohol tax to pay for substance abuse programs.

CEO Sara Howe said some of the money could be used to restore $13 million in proposed budget cuts for substance abuse programs.

"Quite frankly, when you look at addiction prevention and treatment services, what better way to pay for them than an alcohol tax?" Howe said.

But Dan Clausner, with the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, said an alcohol tax hike would compound the negative effect of the recession on bars, restaurants and other businesses. He said consumers are going out to eat less frequently because of the economy.

"If you increase the cost of, or the tax of these products, then they will go out fewer and fewer times."

Supporters of the tax hike said their research shows consumers would support higher alcohol taxes to pay for substance abuse programs.